A 14-year-old boy developed extreme views influenced by the so-called Islamic State and attempted to make homemade bombs during the coronavirus lockdown, a court has heard.
The defendant, who is now 15 and cannot be named for legal reasons, allegedly filmed homemade videos telling viewers how he would “carry out Jihad” and “become a martyr”, as well as creating notes on his iPhone which said “women are tools, an object to be used… a sex slave”.
Leicester Crown Court heard he researched rudimentary homemade items to make basic bombs and added some to his mother’s Amazon wish-list.
Prosecutors allege the Hampshire teenager made bottle bombs in his wardrobe – adding that notes on his phone had been found with the words: “The extinction of the western race and ethnic cleansing of the colonised land stolen by the western plague.”
Jurors heard how the boy had searched an article about Islamic State beheading 21 Christians and another about an attack claimed by Islamic State on churches in Indonesia.
It is also alleged the defendant had researched and made very basic drawings of a “dead man’s switch” – which the prosecution described as “components of an explosive device which enable the bomber to activate a switch despite being incapacitated or physically removed from the control by law enforcement attendants”.
Opening the case against the defendant, prosecutor Anne Whyte QC said the teenager added Islamic State songs and the group’s flag to his homemade videos – with one of the clips played to the jury on Tuesday.
The defendant held his head in his hands as the video was played to the court.
The hearing took place at Leicester Crown Court (PA)
Ms Whyte said: “This is an unusual case and it concerns the activities of a young person who, we will be suggesting, felt isolated and angry about his personal circumstances.
“As you have just heard, he is facing an allegation of preparing acts of terrorism.
“In summary, it is said that, even though he was young, he had developed extremist views, radical views, associated with the terrorist organisation, Islamic State.
“This probably happened in early 2020, so this year.”
During her opening, Ms Whyte told the jury how the defendant had added “rusty screws” and “shrapnel” to his homemade bottle bombs – the result of which had made burn marks in his wardrobe.
She continued: “He had researched how to make devices which were designed to harm or kill other people and had evidently been experimenting with the idea of using shrapnel in such devices.
“He had made a series of videos about the construction of basic devices using the context of his faith and beliefs.
“He made a video setting out his wish to be a martyr, again, we say, influenced by propaganda from Islamic State.”
The prosecution alleged the teenager told viewers of his videos how to make bombs in order to “support our brothers and sisters at the Gaza Strip”.
Explaining what officers had allegedly found in the teenager’s bedroom, Ms Whyte said: “There were plastic bottles containing foil balls in both bedside tables.
“There was a diagram of an improvised explosive device underneath the bed.
“More tin foil balls were found near the front door. The police found two plastic bottles containing tin foil balls and screws in a plastic wash basin in the upstairs hallway.”
Addressing the jury, Ms Whyte added: “(The defendant) had drawn various diagrams which you will be able to see and assess.
“Some of these were incriminating, which may explain why they were in the outside bin.
“He had plainly absorbed this offensive and hateful type of message from somewhere… but it is quite possible that we will never know from precisely where.
“The important point is that he seems to have responded to it and, in his own youthful way, to have embraced it.”
The teenager, from Eastleigh, denies one count of preparing acts of terrorism.
The trial, expected to last two weeks, continues.